Managing the Salish Sea: The Partners

Governmental Organizations

For over 30 years there has been active sharing of information on Cross Border natural resource management issues between British Columbia and Washington State. The best known forum is the biannual meetings for Government agencies, groups and individuals held for many years in either BC or Washington. The most recent, the Oct 2011 conference brought over two thousand participants to Vancouver.

Regional programs are in place. The State of Washington has for years kept its attention on issues associated with the management of marine resources. The most current iteration of these efforts are the programs of the Puget Sound Partnership. Still the Salish Sea in all its parts continues to exhibit deterioration of environmental health. There is, in my opinion, inadequate cooperation between the regulatory agencies of BC, the Canadian Federal Government, Washington State and the US Federal Government.

There is no single governmental linked international agency responsible for all of the Salish Sea —with one major exception. The international organization, called the Coast Salish Gathering was created by the governing bodies of the Coast Salish people of both British Columbia and Washington around 2005. The mission of the CoastSalishGathering is to manage, preserve and restore the marine resources of all parts of the Salish Sea. It is not clear how this united voice for the Salish Sea will be able to work with the current non Indian government agencies to achieve the goal. The Coast Salish view of shared management responsibilities is co-management, that is Indian and non Indian resource managers have an equal say in decision making.

The Sea Doc Society

Of the non governmental groups concerned with the health of the Salish Sea, my favorite is the Sea Doc Society. Joe Gaydos, the founder and executive director, focuses his work on the Salish Sea and how to improve management of its resources. Joe shares his thinking in a paper titled “Top Ten Principles for Designing Healthy Coastal Ecosystems like the Salish Sea”.

A Seattle Times article from July 2011 describes some of Joe’s work in the Salish Sea.


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Page Updated 07.13.2012